Monday, September 2, 2013

Girls Getaway to New Brunswick - Saint John

The next day I was introduced to a savory version of Acadian poutine, poutine râpée, at L’Idylle
Bistro. The Acadians first came to Canada from rural France in the 17th century and their food was simple and hearty. Traditionally this dish is a simple potato dumpling with pork. Chef Emmanuel Charretier gives the classic a sophisticated twist with a thin crisp layer of golden-brown potato enveloping a soft and creamy potato dumpling with chunks of lamb. He serves the poutine with wild cranberry sauce and orange marmalade, both homemade.

Then we were off to Saint John, with a scenic drive along the Bay of Fundy, stopping at the Hopewell Rocks and Cape Enrage on the way.  At The Hopewell Rocks, Paul Gaudet taught me a
lot about the New Brunswick tides and how they mold the rock formations. The tides here can reach more than 50 feet and highest and lowest tides occur at the new moon, when the gravitational pull of the moon is strongest. Hundreds of years ago, French sailors called the rocks “Les Demoiselles” or “the maidens,” because they thought the formations looked like aristocratic French women wearing hats. Maybe they had been away from home for too long, but I can see it if I squint.

After settling in at our hotel, the Hilton Saint John, I checked out the Saint John City Market  before dinner. The market is the oldest in North America, dating from 1785, and open year-round. There’s an eclectic mix of prepared foods to local produce, seafood and meat and even imported Asian snacks. However, I was headed to dinner at East Coast Bistro shortly after, so I didn’t want to spoil my appetite. Instead, I waited to enjoy Malpeque oysters with hibiscus mignonette and bouillabaisse with mussels, prawns, cod and salmon at the newly opened restaurant.

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